COCULLO: Want volunteers? Get the word out

There are plenty of ways to engage volunteers in Prince Rupert, starting with the youth

As a newcomer to Prince Rupert and a journalist, I am constantly scouring the community boards looking for something to do, and of course, a story.

In my search, I have seen and heard more people complain about a lack of volunteers for their organizations and events than I have seen posters and recruitment attempts.

This month saw two longstanding events in Prince Rupert cancelled due to a lack of support, Legion Week and Cow Bay Day. These are more than just two unfortunate events, it is a trend that we should be concerned about.

READ MORE: Cow Bay Day put out to pasture: Second event in a month cancelled in Prince Rupert due to lack of volunteers

READ MORE: Lack of volunteers leads to loss of Legion Week

If we want to keep community thriving then we need to find new innovative ways to engage with volunteers, starting with the youth, who StatsCan say are the most likely demographic to volunteer in Canada.

A great place to start would be at the middle school and high school with a volunteer fair at the beginning of the semesters to show the students the opportunities out there. Students who are looking to get into college are always looking for ways to stand out on their applications, but that is only if volunteer positions need to be treated like jobs.

The Special Events Society’s website lists their volunteer positions as “set-up and take down — setting up tents, booths, games” which is hardly an appealing position to list on a CV. Something such as “logistics coordinators” sounds a lot more captivating.

READ MORE: Special Events numbers drop, but festivals must go on

They do have good incentives for volunteers with two grants available to students during their graduation year, and the city can take note. While we have many great awards, such as the Civic Recognition Award, that show our appreciation for dedication to Prince Rupert, there are none that are specific to youth-involvement in the community.

But most importantly, let us know.

Every week, we produce four community videos and are always looking to see what our organizations are up to.

Most recently, when PRMS was struggling to get donations for their clothing drive we wrote a story which was published over the weekend.

By Tuesday they went from one bag to 30 with more coming in and had to schedule an extra clothing drive because of the overwhelming support.

The drive to help out in the community is there, we just need to get the word out.


Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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